I’ve scheduled some New York trips around seeing Mike Stern at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. During the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, he was touring with Alain Caron — a fluid bass player whom I’ve followed since the 1980s when he came to Vancouver, touring with Uzeb. I’ve seen Alain Caron play in Toronto leading a band of his own. I ordered tickets for Andy and myself, and the day finally arrived.
As usual, Mike Stern was streaming bop on his guitar. I listened for Alain Caron’s bass technique. He easily doubled the guitar, or played counterpoint. It’s amazing to hear the two interlocking their instruments (with Lionel Cordew on drums), because they may only play together a few weeks each year.
Since I already have Mike Stern’s Who Let the Cats Out?, I lined up to get Alain Caron to autograph his new album, Conversations. Speaking with him, he said that he remembered playing at the Landmark Jazz Bar in Vancouver, and that he had played there many times.
The Courthouse is a new venue, and not quite what I expected. It’s larger than most jazz clubs I’ve been in, with the front section open two stories. Strangely enough, they offer only a limited menu of appetizers and burgers … so Andy and I were a bit surprised when we came early for good seats, and expected a more complete dinner.